On Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m., Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music (BFCM) and the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra present a joint concert to honor the memory of Justice Gustin L. Reichbach (1946-2012) and Hope (1988-2011), daughter of Justice Reichbach and Ellen Meyers.
The concert will take place at The Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, Clinton and Montague streets in Brooklyn Heights.
Engaged with radical politics at Columbia University School of Law, Justice Gustin Reichbach led student protests in 1968 and went on to a career as a fiercely independent lawyer and judge. He won a court case that helped legalize residential loft life in Soho and TriBeCa, blasted a state agency from the bench for ignoring Medicaid fraud and served as a judge on a war-crimes tribunal in Kosovo. He provided prostitutes with condoms, H.I.V. testing and counseling. To his delight, the Daily News called him the Condom Judge on its front page.
Hon. Barry Kamins, administrative judge for Criminal Matters, Second Judicial District, said, "The concert is a wonderful way to honor the memory of Judge Reichbach and his daughter Hope. Judge Reichbach was a man of great integrity and behind his love of the law, he enjoyed the arts and music and this is a great way to celebrate his life."
Justice David Schmidt of Brooklyn Supreme Court (Civil Term) said of Judge Reichbach: “He was one of the smartest, knowledgeable, and kindest men I have ever known. What impressed me the most about [Judge Reichbach] was how he dealt with adversity: pancreatic cancer and the loss of his beloved daughter Hope, his shining star. He was a fighter until the clock ran out.”
Justice Deborah Dowling of Brooklyn Supreme Court (Criminal Term) said, "Judge Reichbach was always a man of principle who was unafraid to look at things, including the law, in an unconventional way. He truly was a catalyst for change both in his professional and personal life."
In May, Justice Reichbach wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times pleading for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. He himself was using it to ease his cancer treatments. Justice Reichbach died of pancreatic cancer in July 2012.
Hope Reichbach grew up in Brooklyn and attended Hunter College High School. In her senior year she teamed up with the New York Civil Liberties Union to sue then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for what she believed to be his illegal military recruitment tactics.
City Councilman Steve Levin made Hope his communications director, and, at age 22, Hope ran for female district leader. She was recognized as a rising star in Brooklyn politics, but died in April 2011.
For friends, family and members of the Brooklyn community, this concert will hold a special meaning as Justice Reichbach had hoped to serve as narrator for the Beavers concerto. Actor Harris Yulin will take his place.
All proceeds from this concert will be donated to the Hope Reichbach Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships for students in civic leadership and grassroots community organizing.
The program will include Felix Mendelssohn, “Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20” and Kevin Beavers “Roscoe Concerto for Violin, Narrator and Orchestra on a Text by William Kennedy.”
The musicians include these faculty and students of the Manhattan School of Music: Christina Bouey, Xiao Wang, Holly Jenkins, Karen Dekker, violins; Celia Hatton, Nicholas Mann, violas; Grace Ho, David Geber, cellos.
The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra will also perform with J. Freivogel, first violinist of the Jasper Quintet, on violin.
Harris Yulin's last stage appearance was as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's “Death of a Salesman” at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. His production of Horton Foote's “The Trip to Bountiful” at the Signature Theatre won four Lortel awards (including direction), in an extended run.
The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1973 and is comprised of talented amateur, semi-professional, and professional musicians. Nicholas Armstrong has been its Artistic Director since 1997. He is Head of the Performing Arts Department at the Poly Prep School.
Tickets are $20 at the door, students $10. For more information, call (718) 855-3053.